UNC Asheville’s women’s golf team finish up their fall season

Roman Uglehus

Sports Writer

ruglehus@unca.edu

Photo by: Adrian Etheridge
Janie Thomas with a strong drive down the fairway.

UNC Asheville’s women’s golf team finished their fall season last week at Wofford’s Terrier Intercollegiate tournament. 

In the team’s second to last competition of the season at Presbyterian College’s Blue Hose Match Play, senior Adelyn Deery played superbly, winning all three of her matches.

“The first day I played very well. I made a lot of birdies which was good, that really helped. The second day I just tried to stay as consistent. I had a little bumpy road, I was a little behind at first, kind of going back-and-forth, but managed to keep it together so it was good,” Deery said. “I just kind of took everything one shot at a time, just tried to play as consistently as possible, try and let my competitor make the mistakes. It was good.”

According to Head Coach Ericka Schneider, Deery’s performances at the Blue Hose Match Play were enjoyable to watch for anyone.

“Anybody that watched could’ve grabbed a bag of popcorn and just sat back and had a great time. It was so much fun to watch her play. The girl that she was playing against after five holes was in tears and distraught. In matchplay that’s going to happen because you’re not playing the field, you’re playing the person that you’re playing against. She had the girl four down after five holes and we get to her fifth hole and the girls coach is standing there and she’s in tears, crying hysterically about how she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do. I told Addy, I said keep doing what you’re doing, put your foot on the throttle and I said she will continue to make mistakes and you won’t have to worry about anybody but yourself,” Schneider said.

Schneider said Deery’s abilities during matchplay contests are her best qualities as a player.

“She’s probably the most fun person I’ve ever watched play matchplay. Anytime I tell anybody about it I tell them she’s an animal, it’s like watching the Incredible Hulk. There’s just something that gets lit off inside of her and you look at her and it’s like a cat on catnip or a dog where he’s about to get a treat. There’s just this fire behind her eyes and this excitement and she’s not gonna quit until she gets what’s in front of her,” Schneider said.

Four of the team’s six players are seniors. In Deery’s last season at UNCA, she said she wants to relish her time playing for the golf team.

“It’s kind of bittersweet. We started the program coming in as freshmen and now all of us are graduating. I’m just trying to stay in the moment and enjoy all the time that I have,” Deery said.

Kellen Alsip, also a senior, said she looks forward to competing in her last season for UNCA.

“It’s definitely mixed emotions. I’m very excited for the last season but it’s also really hard playing in our last tournaments, like finishing this last one in the fall was weird that we’re no longer going to have another fall tournament to go back to. The four of us are ready to leave an impression on this program,” Alsip said.

The golf team performed notably during the fall season at the MSU Greenbrier Invitational and the NKU Fall Invitational, finishing sixth and fifth respectively. Individual performances in the NKU Fall Invitational saw senior Kellen Alsip tie for seventh and sophomore Baylee Evans tied for 12th. The MSU Greenbrier Invitational saw Alsip, Deery and senior Janie Thomas all finish in the top 22.

Speaking on the NKU Fall Invitational, Alsip said the tournament went well for herself and the team. 

“I came in the top 10 which was really exciting. It went really well, I definitely had a lot of stuff going for me and my teammates put together some decent rounds too. It was overall a really fun tournament for all of us to go to and it’s close to home for me, so a lot of my family got to go and watch,” Alsip said

With the team’s fall season concluded, Schneider commented on notable performers and performances from individual players from the season.

“Kellen in the NKU tournament had a really solid three days and she finished top seven. Baylee has definitely started to play a lot better this season, last year she had a scoring average of right around 80 and this year she is starting to post more rounds in the 70s. As far as Kellen, Addy and Baylee they’re definitely our top three right now and they’re starting to really show some progress,” Schneider said.

This season marked Schneider’s second year as head coach of the women’s golf team. Before UNCA, Schneider played golf professionally for three years before she began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach for the women’s golf team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In her first season at UNCA, Schneider coached the team to a first place finish at the 2019 Pinehurst Women’s Intercollegiate tournament. According to Schneider, she loves her role as the head coach.

“I love working here and I love living here. I got very lucky as far as the team that I inherited, most coaches don’t get the opportunity to say that. When you walk into a program that is ultimately not your own as far as the kids, it’s either received well or received negatively, you could have a lot of pushback. From the get go I told the girls, I said, I’m not expecting you to respect me right away, I’m not expecting you to trust me right away, I said I will earn that over time. They gave me the opportunity to do that and so this year has been a completely different environment,” said the Florida native.

All four seniors and sophomore Baylee Evans were on the team last season, Schneider’s first.

“Five of the six were here last year so we had that time last year to develop those relationships and so what we’re being able to accomplish this year is maybe not necessarily end results but we’re accomplishing more as far as what we can do as a team. There’s not a whole lot more that I can ask for as a coach and I feel like we are in a place where we can start to focus solely on golf,” Schneider said.

According to Alsip, Schneider’s addition to the team was effortless and the team appreciate the coach’s character.

“She’s been great, we all love her. Her personality just meshes really well with us and we all have a bond that we can take into tournaments and we’re really comfortable working with her and she’s super supportive and definitely was a great fit for our program,” Alsip said.

Although the team’s fall season ended, the players will continue to work hard to prepare and be ready for their spring season, which tees off in late February.

“Up until exams start we’re still in the off-season so we can still practice eight hours a week, but it’s not team practice it’s individual coach lead skills and they’ll still work out but when they go home most of them will practice if they have the availability to. None of them will take that entire time off. They’ve all got the drive and the passion to be as good as they possibly can here so they’ll still work hard, it won’t be required by me but they’ll do it because they want to work hard and want to be better,” Schneider said.

Alsip said she hopes to see improvement in herself and teammates for the spring season, her last at UNCA. 

“In the spring I’d like to get a few more top 10, top 20 finishes, but I’d also like to see the team move up and start placing in tournaments and show what we’re capable of,” Alsip said. 

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